Chinese Resources

Thursday, October 4, 2012

One of these corrections is not like the other.

In the interest of fully exploring iTalki, I have decided to take advantage of their "notebook entry" feature over the past few days. Notebook entry, like the name suggests, is a place where one can write a journal entry for friends and other iTalki members to see. The goal is that a native speaker of the target language will take the time to correct your article, thus improving your target language.

While this is a good idea, and great writing practice, it is clear after just two journal entries that the quality of corrections will very greatly between users, and that most native speakers have no training in teaching a second language what-so-ever. You end up with corrections that simply rely on the speakers 語感 (linguistic feeling) rather than provided you with reasons as to why is is a mistake, or why a word doesn't make sense in the context etc.

Take an example of two different corrections from my own journal entry on "the preparatory stages of research." One user's corrections (seen below) has taken my opening paragraph and made drastic changes, but has not provided any reason as to why the changes are being made. Are my sentences grammatically incorrect, or do they just think that their way "sounds" better... I simply don't know.

On the other hand, I got another correction from a user who actually took the time to provide me with the necessary information I would need to actually learn from this writing exercise (see below). I am given options between words, and clarification between what is wrong, and what simply sounds clearer. Also, after the corrections, the user actually took the time to explain why the corrections were made. In this case, my usage of words like "很" or "可" take away from an academic voice that I am aiming for in the paper, which the user explains. Unlike the corrections above, which is ambiguous at best, I can use this information when working on future writing assignments.

In sum, we should be wary of the corrections made on these types of sites, and careful in choosing what kind of feedback we actually want to follow. Also, a quick tip to using sites like iTalki. If you find a correction you like, be sure to express your thanks by providing the same types of feedback to that users writing. That is, of course, if you want them to correct something for you again!
The preparatory stages of research (研究之前的步驟)
假使要作研究,我們應該從普遍的問題(1)問(2)開始,不過哪一個問題呢?在這方面,我們其實有各種選擇,譬如:自己本身的經驗或興趣、其他發表過的研究等、第二語言習得之外的資料等等。這些出處(還是要說源頭)(來源) (出處、源頭都可以,可是我覺得來源最好)不但可以啓發研究的內容、並且可以幫助我們使用不同的角度觀察一些第二語言習得(學習第二語言)(第二語言習得ok, 可是我覺得"學習第二語言"更好)的現象。

Excellent work.
希望這對你有幫助,如果有任何疑問,歡迎寫訊息問我 : ) 

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